In the final event of opening night at the Doha Short Course World Championships, the women of the Netherlands took down the World Record in the 4×200 free relay, led by a huge split from Femke Heemskerk.
The Dutch ladies put up the two fastest relay splits in the field and smashed the world record by over three seconds, winning World Championships gold by more than four.
The team was made up of Inge Dekker, Heemskerk, Ranomi Kromowidjojo and Sharon van Rouwendaal. That foursome went 7:32.85 to break the 7:35.94 set by China back in 2010. This year’s Chinese delegation was a distant second, at 7:37.02.
This is a pretty impressive record for the Dutch women to take down, especially considering that Dekker and Kromowidjojo are both more well-known as sprinters. The two filled in well on a longer relay, though, each going respectable 1:54s as Heemskerk and van Rouwendaal were a cut above anyone else in the field.
Here’s a look at the team splits:
- Dekker: 1:54.73
- Heemskerk: 1:51.22
- Kromowidjojo: 1:54.17
- van Rouwendaal: 1:52.73
- Team: 7:32.85
Heemskerk and van Rouwendaal really carried the load, but when you compare to the previous WR splits below, you find that Dekker and Kromowidjojo really held their own against their 2010 Chinese counterparts:
- Chen Qian: 1:54.73
- Tang Yi: 1:53.54
- Liu Jing: 1:53.59
- Zhu Qianwei: 1:54.08
- China, 2010: 7:35.94
This could be the first of several world relay records for the Dutch, who might be more dangerous as the distance gets shorter and moves more into the ranges of Dekker and Kromowidjojo. The 200 and 400 free relay records both look a bit tougher than this 800 record, though, so the Netherlands will have to step up their game again to etch their names into the record books for a second and/or third time.